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It seems Twitter—the company now calling itself “X” based on one billionaire’s nostalgic whim—can’t escape users’ dissatisfaction with the platform, not even in its own advertising.
Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino shared a new video advertisement for the X platform Thursday. As dull as it is, it hits all the points she and her boss Elon Musk have been proclaiming about their supposed “everything app,” including video calls, payments, and creator subscriptions. At the same time, users spotted some rather critical tweets hidden among the fast-scrolling messaging. Molly White, of Web3isGoingJustGreat fame, shared how some of the posts referred to the enshittification of Twitter since billionaire Musk’s tenure began last October.
One of the posts enshrined in the ad reads “the timeline algo is dying fr it’s becoming mediocre engagement maxxed [sic] on low effort report accounts and dating discourse.” Another tweet promoted by the video refers to Musk’s recent attacks against the Anti-Defamation League, and how he’s platformed major anti-Semitic figures. That tweet reads “Twitter’s value has fallen by at least 50%, and Elon is blaming it all on the Jews. Masterful gambit sir.”
Here’s the video:
And here are the tweets if you blinked and missed them:
Most of the tweets in those timelines appear to be from Sept. 4 and 5. Other posts caught in the scrolls include users complaining about the rising cost of rent, reactions to late-night host Bill Maher’s horrible take on the ongoing writers and actors strike, and another reading “paul schrader is a swiftie, roman polanski is a pedophile, vincent gallo is a nazi. Accept it, at the end of the day I only care about the movies.” There was even one tweet from President Joe Biden stuck in there.
Yaccarino deleted her original tweet sharing the ad. She then reposted a modified version of the ad that no longer includes any of the more controversial tweets featured in the original, although it includes different—but still critical—tweets about Maher’s tone-deaf take on the strikes. It also includes a tweet from a shitposting account featuring a video of a chicken being stuffed with soft-serve ice cream. The tweet read “If you sweet talk the waitress they let you do this at Golden Corral.”
Gizmodo reached out to Twitter for comment but we did not immediately hear back. Twitter’s own Community Notes feature blasted Yaccarino, saying the new video isn’t in a higher resolution but scrubs the tweets that were critical of X.
Yaccarino gave credit for the video to Ted Harrison, the head of production and six-year veteran at Twitter. It’s entirely possible that other people also worked on the video, and that editors simply screen-grabbed themselves scrolling down their “For You” feed with abandon and without first questioning what the algorithm might show them. Strangely, the obvious sexual memes or rampant, inescapable ads for Wendy’s or Amazon made the cut, but not the tweets critical of Twitter’s leadership.
You might say the tweets presented in the video were supposed to be a collage, a tapestry made up of millions of different, incongruous threads forming a somewhat cohesive whole. Those critical tweets point to an age before the focus on payments and stocks, back to the wild days of interconnected expert discourse, bad takes, and shitposting. If Twitter’s CEO was trying to make users excited for the future, she may be simply making them more nostalgic.